Currently, BusKill only works on Linux laptops.
Just recently, a software engineer by the name of Michael Altfield designed a new modified USB cable purposed to protect your laptop’s data in a unique way.
Dubbed “BusKill;” the main problem that it guards against is a so-called “snatch and run” situation in which someone could steal your laptop after you have logged into in a public space allowing the thief to access your confidential data.
How it does this is by basically connecting the cable to your Linux based laptop from one end and your own belt from the other. If someone snatches the laptop from you, the cable will naturally be disconnected in response to which a udev script is triggered that can perform any operation you’ve configured it to in such a situation.
This can be something like logging out your account leaving the attacker without any access unless he manages to bypass Linux’s authentication system or even something more serious such as wiping out your entire system. While the latter may seem an extreme measure, it would be useful for a certain subset of users such as those that work for government agencies and may have access to “top-secret” information.
This is explained further by the creator stating that,
“There is no need for anything to actually be stored on the USB drive. And if the USB drive suddenly failed, BusKill would still be triggered. If an attacker quickly inserted a clone of your USB drive before or after stealing your laptop, BusKill would still be triggered.”
However, there are certain features that need to be added to make the cable more useful and convenient at the same time. In fact, Michael himself admitted to such on Twitter citing a common situation when one may want to himself disconnect their laptop like going to the bathroom.
So #BusKill activates on *removal* of a USB device via udev. So you can boot without the cord.
There is currently no way to disable it temporarily (ie: if you have to go to the bathroom), but I'd be interested in adding such a feature. Follow me on twitter for future updates :)
— Michael Altfield (@MichaelAltfield) January 3, 2020
Currently, these cables aren’t being sold though. For those of you who are super excited, luckily he has written an entire tutorial on his personal website explaining how to build one yourself along with writing the code required. A quick video demo of BusKill cable is available below:
At the end of the day, it is important to note that this is an anti-theft solution in its basic premise and should be taken as such. Using it as a substitute for poor security measures like a lack of encryption would not be a good idea.